Can I Optimize (SEO) Accelerated Mobile Pages?

HARTENSTINE Search Engine First Marketing What are Accelerated Mobile Pages and do I need to redesign my website yet again just so Google will keep my website in the top of SERPS? ( for crying-out-loud I just got a responsive website! )

Spoiler alert – No. relax. You do not need to do anything. AMP has a very small audience ( at the moment anyway ) since it is not usable for business websites – and your competition will not likely migrate their website to AMP. So there is no MAD imperative here.

AMP has been around for a while actually, and most people are just becoming aware of it. What is it? AMP is just a stripped-down version of a normal website. It has restricted functionality in exchange for loading speed with mobile devices in mind. As the creators point out below, it is designed for “reading” content, not things that require interaction. Therefore AMP is not a consideration for most businesses. As time enables more functionality into AMP designs, it may become a consideration.

AMP HTML is a subset of HTML with only specific JavaScript “components” available. It’s designed for creating “reading” content, rather than anything interactive. It is already designed to have ad units included and is going to have a standardized way of including analytics code, but it drastically limits the use of JavaScript.

But can I optimize AMP? Accelerated Mobile Pages are philosophically search engine optimized (SEO) already. That just means optimized for speed. So the answer is yes, Of course you can optimize other things that are not related to AMP – such as the content of the page, which can still be crafted for search engines. ( remember Grasshopper, 2500 words! )

If you want to transition your website to an AMP platform, get started here

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What Is A Search Engine Friendly Website?

HARTENSTINE Search Engine First Marketing In a sentence; it is a well organized set of information made easily accessible to another computer to crawl (the bot) and index ( the search engine ).

Search Engine Friendly means What Humans Don’t See

It is not necessary to have a visually attractive or interesting website in order to be search engine friendly. “Visually attractive” or “interesting” are things humans want. Search engines seek well organized information; a theme, explicit descriptions of a page, and explicit labels (for images). These are things humans don’t see or even care about. Here’s some advice from Google

What is not Search Engine Friendly

90% or more of “pretty” websites are not optimized for search engines (the web designer will always say it is) (and how can the client tell?). In contrast, you will never hear a real SEO claim they build pretty websites – it’s not their talent and good SEO consumers all their bandwidth. Web Designers concentrate on the visual. Do they also have the ability to concentrate on the unseen SEO as well? (I like and use webs designers, but…)

Then there are the website owners, they usually make a mess of a perfectly organized website; they move pages around, change menu navigation which often changes URLs; add this thing; and add this other thing; and soon all these “things” create obstacles for search engines. Over time the web site becomes an unintelligible and very search engine unfriendly mess.

Many website owners and advertising agencies try to do SEO themselves because it seems easy and obvious ( read a book – search online ). Hiring an SEO specialist is an unnecessary expense. We would add to the list that – hiring an SEO specialist seems unnecessary because there is a belief that “everyone can do SEO”. This self-perpetuating environment in which every website designer seems to do SEO, leads you also to ask, Why can’t I do it myself?

“A proficiency at billiards is a sign of a misspent youth” Mark Twain.

When the task is to turn a human website into one that also speaks to, and serves the needs of search engines, hire those who understand how search engines work and can take the time to do it right. Sprinkling a few keywords around pages and posts is not SEO and will not create a Search Engine Friendly Website.

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Site Using Google 360 Virtual Tour

Our first site built using Google’s 360 Virtual Tour. You should take a test drive. Might be just the thing for your business.

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Website Development Guidelines

To reach your goals you will need 3 things: Web Development, Web Design and SEO. Keeping these job-functions separated in your mind will make for a very successful online endeavor.

Web Development is the building of a web site. It deals with computer coding, things like creating pages and linking them together. Form submissions are a good example – they are the workings of the computer on which the website lives.

Web Design is specifically about the beauty and usability. The things that humans need in a website to understand your business and contact you.

Search Engine Optimization is about arranging things for search engines to understand your web site (and business) better so that your business can be found by those humans.

You can see that these are very different skill-sets that are often wrongly lumped together. The web designer talks to people, the other two to computers. Knowing these job-functions are different will save you from making the biggest, most common mistakes.

Good web design is almost priceless. Its worth every penny. Spend your time and budget on the design/er. And keep them focused on designing for people.

Web Development and SEO are similar in that they must consider the mechanics – how the website function must serve the business. re. an eCommerce website is very different from a local business website.

Web Developers and Designers go together, usually in pairs. The designer designs and the developer turns the design into computer code. What often goes wrong is that during this process, SEO is not included. And that is a big mistake.

I caution against using a Web Design firm to do SEO. 99% of these firms start as web designers (artists). As the firm grows, the imperative to increase services/income naturally includes SEO – but not because they are experts in SEO.

Determine your SEO first, then have the Web Developer follow the blueprint. The SEO should establish the framework on which the mechanics are built. This way the website will function for the business and it will be beautiful to people and it will be a thing of beauty to search engines as well. The perfect web site.

Now you know why Hartenstine does not do web design. We outsource both Web Dev and Web Design to specialist or work with the customers existing web firm. In the case you are seeking a new web-dev-designer. I am happy to help you find one.

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Guidelines for Administrators

If you are a principal or business owner, there are some concepts that are unique to your online business that don’t pertain to the brick and mortar business. Keep these concepts in mind when managing the Internet side of your business.

There can be only one!

  • DO create ONLY 1 ADMIN account with Google for all services such as Google Analytics, WMT and Adwords. But DO NOT use this one for general email! Only email pertaining to Google Analytics, WMT and Adwords.
  • Then DO NOT forget which Google account is the Admin account. Stay very organized. Its is quickly forgotten which account is the Admin Login if many people have PERMISSION to access these services (Analytics and Adwords can have multiple access points).
  • DO NOT forget your passwords! You can’t afford to loose access to your admin account. Its easy to let a password change go undocumented. If you do change the password for any reason, DO send it to your personal email account at that very moment (just don’t include the username for security reasons).
  • DO NOT share with vendors!
  • DO NOT let another vendor create another Google account for you! (preemptively lay down the law when you hire any new vendor/contractor)

Regarding the 2 prior rules: just look at what can happen Google Forums: My Google Analytics Account was deleted. Note the lack of responses; because there is no recourse.

  • ONLY 1 ADMIN – DO ask current or prior vendors to hand-over or close any Google accounts they have for your business. DO CLOSE any other GOOGLE WEBMASTER, GOOGLE PLACES, GOOGLE+, GOOGLE ANALYTICS accounts that might be floating around. Stray Admin accounts are the source of all evil in SEO.

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Local SEO for Business Listings

Ever wonder why that other business with the ugly website ranks so well? The reason must lie somewhere out there on the Internet.

Now for the dictionary of terms all meaning the same thing; this is often called off-site SEO, and those off-site SEO areas are referred to as Local SEO or also called NAP ( Name , Address, Phone Number ) by the “hip” or using an old-fashion Yellow Pages term Business Listings. Now that we have that out of the way, the simple bottom line is:

Get this right and you’ll sail past 90% of your competitors. If its a mess (and for 50% of businesses this is true) it will feel as though your search rank is stuck in a tar pit. So if you are reading this, and your website(s) is suffering from Search Rank Malaise, keep reading.

We can remedy that.

Your visibility in search is greatly affected by how accurately search engines can identify your business location. They search other sources for business listings to find correlation in order to be assured their search results are accurate.

There are two fundamentals at play: 1) your business listing has not been propagated across the many directories on the Internet that search engines use for this purpose, or 2) what is more often the case, the listings that do exist have conflicting information causing search engines some confusion. This causes search engines to assume your business has moved, but which listing is correct? Something as simple as changing the phone number for your business or using a tracking number on your website can wreak havoc on your search rank. For the search engine its a simple confidence game that has been written into an algorithm so it can be performed by a computer.

There are companies that offer solutions. But unfortunately this area has been polluted by large, aggressive companies that try to apply a cookie-cutter approach which sometimes does more damage. You may be able to benefit from their services, but be aware of the dangers. One size does not fit all business needs. And this is one area in which you cannot afford to experiment. You need to understand how they do their magic before engaging these services.

We clean, fix and submit your business listings on all the directories by hand.

Most offerings use automated submission robots that can help a new business get the word out. But this does not work for existing businesses. To be effective this service must be done by hand. Each directory must be analysed and if it contains inaccurate information, an interaction must take place. This process can become quite complicated and take weeks to resolve.

Other Reading:

Yodle, ReachLocal, Yext – Scams or Just Hard To Please Everybody?

Yodle, ReachLocal, Yext – Scams?

Yext Pitches Google Places Tags Customers to buy PowerListings

Why Yext Might Not Be the Best Fit for Your Business

My Thoughts on Where Yext Fits Into a Local Search Marketing Plan

Yext Ripoff, How An Internet Marketing Service Took Me For A Ride.

Review of Yext PowerListings and

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Why Free Websites Don’t Rank

Free Websites are a waste of time and ultimately that means money. We will be happy to explain why, and how we provide websites and hosting for the serious business.

Nothing is free, not even on the Internet. I’m referring to those almost free, $3.15 or $7.00 or $4.99 a month websites. They are all the same.

I hear about these from people who have gone down that road, only to find that they are nowhere in search results regardless how hard they try. Even Google Sites, which are free, don’t get you into Google search results. So what is (not) happening?

The  Algorithm

Perhaps this all makes sense from a search engine point of view. If you think about it. Here is how a search engine algorithm might work (programmed by humans of course):

A) The website owner isn’t serious enough about being found in search to pay a few dollars more for a stand-alone (BUSINESS) website.

B) Free websites are for simple presentations, not complex or serious business presentations.

C) By choosing a cookie-cutter (free, near free website) this person doesn’t know how search engines and the Internet work, so they probably don’t have anything important to communicate.

D) All of the above

My answer to this problem is simple. Invest a very small amount of money to be found. (Probably less per month than you tip at restaurants – less than your coffee habit – less than you spend on your mobile phone (?))

The Template

Free websites are built using templates into which you ADD your personal content. Your free website template contains the same structure as everyone else who uses that template. To search engines, you all look the same.

To some degree all contemporary websites are templates. But its a matter of degree (and some other factors that are unseen by the human eye that I won’t go into here).

The Host

The host is the company that provides your Free Website. Your website lives on a server in their datacenter.

A) High-density means SLOW! Free websites are usually crammed onto servers, and those server are not the fastest servers that the host has in their datacenter. That usually results in a slow website. Google has been explicit that a slow website = does not ranking well in SERPs.

b) Bad Neighbors = Bad Neighborhood! Free websites can be and ARE USED for a lot of devious stuff. If the host gets a bad reputation ( from a search engine ), what do you think happens to your chances of ranking well in SERPs? Whether or not the neighborhood has a bad reputation, search engines know that you live in a high-density, low-cost housing project, which has its own reputation problem. This reputation issue would be found in the Algorithm (above); your website is just not serious.

C) Templates as mentioned above. The host provides lots of these websites with little-to-no-customization possible or they would loose money supporting them. (It takes a lot of time to create a good website). So the more that can be templated, the better for them, not for you.

Again, a very small amount of money gets you into a better neighborhood and may help you capture that $10 Billion that goes unclaimed every year.

Ask about a good, solid, search engine optimized website. They are not Free but very affordable.

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How Do I Know I've Got The Right Internet Business Solution

Most businesses rent their Internet infrastructure at a monthly fixed cost that provide website hosting, e-commerce solutions, email, Internet marketing, SEO, 3rd party leads, etc. There are fundamental problems with these “packages”.

  • Incompatible Goals – vendor-client incongruities
  • Quality Of Service – deteriorates over time
  • Contract Cycle – benefits are not realized in monthly cycles
  • Lost Assets – end of contract (relationship), who owns what?

Own Your Online Business

All these factors put the average business at odds with conventional service contract arrangements. We offer a different arrangement. Our methods make you the rightful owner of your online business assets.

You can be independent, cut costs, and take control – “own” your online business.

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